In today’s changing world children are growing up with a host of gadgets, gizmos and multi-media technology which has not only changed the systems of education but also the methods of learning. Television, computers, tablets, smartphones and video games have changed the ways in which a child’s brain absorbs new information and assimilates it. Children these days have short attention spans and most often it is technology that’s blamed for it.
However, C. Shawn Green, PhD of the University of Minnesota disagrees and states, “A child who is capable of playing a video game for hours on end obviously does not have a global problem with paying attention, the question, then, is why they are able to pay attention to a game but not in school? What expectancies have the games set up that aren’t being delivered in a school setting?”
The answer to this question lies in the fact that we need to harness the learning abilities that children develop as a result of their exposure to media and use it to enhance their academic performance. This approach to teaching helps children learn more rapidly and readily. Computers in the classroom, early educational videos and even educational video games are all aspects of a modern learning environment that can be used by parents to give their kids a head start. Dr. Mary Ann Smialek, educator and author says, “Children struggle when they try to learn in ways that aren’t natural for them, Out-dated learning materials and approaches that don’t match with the patterns of learning common to today’s children are going to result in difficulties and frustration”.
Presently, companies are also targeting this young and tech-savvy young demographic by providing a host of amazing tablets and learning aids. A new generation of kid’s tablets tries to capture the older-than-toddlers-but-not-quite-teenagers market. Kid’s tablets like LeapPad and InnoTab have been around for a while but the latest crop of gizmos for kids like the Lexibook, Kurio, and Meep are racing for the attention of this demographic with quite some impressive features. Toys‘R’Us has also thrown its hat in with a children’s tablet of its own called ‘Tabeo’. KiDiGi 7 is another tablet for kids which runs on the Android platform and is touted to be ‘The Best Tablet for Kids’. Check this link for a review on KiDiGi 7. Here’s also a list of the 10 best tablets for kids according to zdnet.com :
- THQ’s uDraw for Wii (launched in 2010)
- Kindle Fire by Amazon’s
- Nook Tablet by Barnes & Noble
- Xoom (family edition) by Motorola
- iPad by Apple Inc.
It remains to be seen however if the current generation of youngsters will take an interest in these devices or consider them a cheap substitute to their mom and dads’ iPad’s and Samsung Galaxy Tabs. There’s still no guarantee that these product will beat out the iPad. Apple has long realized the potential of the pre-teen set and has targeted them with iPad’s, learning apps, smart devices, and other mobile tech to meet their educational and developmental needs. Troy Peterson, vice president, divisional merchandise manager at Toys‘R’us says, “The only way to compete with iPad is to not compete”.
In a Forrester Research survey of 4,750 U.S. adults, 26% of parents said they’re concerned about their children accessing inappropriate content on their tablet. On all of the kids’ tablets, however, parents can control the content children can access with a one-time setup and set limits on how long they can use it, something they can’t do on the iPad or Kindle. The kids’ tablets are all built to withstand damage, and at $149, they are less than half the price of an iPad. However, Sean McGowan, a Needham and Co. analyst who covers the toy industry says, “The question is, ‘Are they cheap enough for households on a budget and are they cool enough for kids who really want an iPad?’, You think you’re saving money, but if the kid doesn’t love it and is embarrassed to show it in front of his friends, it’s money wasted”.
As we move forward into an ever more complex and technologically advanced world, we need to use the tools that allow our children to learn best. If the media have given our children a set of learning tools and skills, then we should use those tools and skills as much as possible.
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